The inaugural UCONNIC music festival proved to provide more than just a night of music. While the performances were without a doubt high-energy and memorable, the unique experience SUBOG presented gave students a festival just for them. Khalid’s show-stopping live performance, food trucks and Instagrammable student-designed backdrops made the first UCONNIC one to truly remember.
Khalid gives off good vibes
R&B singer Khalid’s live show is an experience in and of itself. The singer is accompanied by a live band as opposed to a backing track, allowing him to change his songs up. Drama was injected in his live show anytime the drums, guitar and synth worked together to build a song to a crescendo.
At times, Khalid was energetic. It seemed nothing could wipe the smile off his face as he kicked and spun around on stage next to his dancers. During fan-favorite “Silence,” the most high-energy song of the night, strobe lights flashed as the singer danced to the Marshmello-produced beats.
Other times, the singer sat on a stool and closed his eyes. It felt so intimate that it didn’t seem to matter that he was performing to thousands in Gampel. He could have been singing by himself in his bedroom. “Angels” presented a particularly poignant moment of the night. “Lately I’ve been going through some shit and this song makes me feel good,” Khalid said before beginning the piano-driven ballad. As the song went on, his vocals grew more powerful and the drums and guitar swelled around him. The video board behind the singer showed clouds and bright lights as he belted.
Khalid’s vocals shined through on the two stripped-down songs he sang: “The Ways” off the “Black Panther” soundtrack and “Love Lies,” a recently-released collaboration with Normani. With nothing but clean guitar and a light drum beat below him, the 20-year-old’s vocal power was undeniable.
“Thank you guys for making me feel like I belong here,” the singer said. The gratitude was mutual. Students sang as loud as they could and lit up Gampel with their phone flashlights for the American Teen.
PnB Rock gets lit
Rapper-singer PnB Rock set the tone for the night with his high-energy opening performance. Students danced in the aisles next to their seats and screamed along to hits like “Selfish,” his remix of French Montana’s “Unforgettable” and “Too Many Years.”
While he called the song “lovey-dovey,” the closing track “Selfish” was the fan-favorite of the night. Students sang the final chorus crystal clear when the beat cut out.
PnB called out “bad females” in the audience who attracted his attention before “There She Go” and splashed water on the front rows during “Everyday We Lit,” never letting the energy lull during his set.
Food trucks, student art and merch complete the festival experience
While the weather was dreary, it didn’t stop students from taking a break from the music outside. Unique merch designed by Project Fashion for the festival was up for sale including t-shirts, hats and sweatshirts.
Food trucks lined Jim Calhoun way, giving students plenty of options to fill their bellies. Milkcraft’s creamy liquid nitrogen ice cream proved to be the Instagram-worthy food of the night. The ice cream truck also sold “Dragon Balls”: small balls of ice cream served with liquid nitrogen. Upon eating the ice cream, students blew the liquid nitrogen out of their mouths, resembling smoke.
Chompers, Taco Tequila, Mardi Parti and Food Extrovert also provided students with fried, Cajun, Mexican and comfort foods.
Student-designed art backdrops completed the festival aesthetic by providing pops of color, including an illustration of headliner Khalid and a graffiti-style banner listing the festival’s performers.
Note: Rapper Goldlink did not perform as scheduled. SUBOG declined to comment as of press time.
Schae Beaudoin is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.